Welcome to Gay Friendly Pueblo/Southern Colorado

Pueblo / Southern Colorado

Alamosa

Set in the center of the vast San Luis Valley of southern Colorado, Alamosa serves as the region’s hub for tourism, where the meandering Rio Grande River snakes through a vast, high desert valley ringed by dramatic mountains.

The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad brought commerce here in the 1870s, but today the main attraction is the nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, a 20-minute drive from town, is a unique geological juxtaposition — the nation’s highest sand dunes (topping out at 750 feet) against a backdrop of 13,000-foot mountain peaks. Visitors come to hike, sled and even ski the dunes, and also to camp, picnic and explore the trails and wildlife preserve that are part of this national park. Deer, bears, mountain lions, foxes and coyotes make their homes here, along with some rare species of insects.

The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad’s main hub is here. From the town’s depot, train riders can head to La Veta, Monte Vista or Antonito over terrain that sometimes can’t be reached by any other means of transportation, and special concert, photography and other events are had on the rails each year. You can walk from the railroad’s depot to sample downtown’s many restaurants, many of which specialize in Mexican cuisine.

Visitors should also check out the 18-hole Cattails Golf Course and other nearby attractions, such as the Colorado Gator Farm in Mosca or the Zapata Falls waterfall. The Alamosa/Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is a bird-watcher’s paradise, especially in spring.

 

Cañon City

It’s unlikely you’ll visit the Royal Gorge Bridge without a stop in nearby Cañon City. And although the gorge sports the nation’s highest suspension bridge, dangling more than 1,000 feet above the crashing Arkansas River below, that’s not the only reason to visit this city in south-central Colorado. River rafting is a huge attraction here, and it doesn’t get any more exciting than a trip through the Royal Gorge.

You also can ride the revived Royal Gorge Route Railroad passenger train through the gorge, seeing it from the bottom up instead of the top down. The train leaves on a regular schedule from the depot in Cañon City and offers more plush accommodations than most of Colorado’s historic trains.

While in town, you’ll find wine tasting at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey, several art galleries and antique shops, and numerous places to grab a bite. If you’re interested in criminal history, try a visit to the Museum of Colorado Prisons, appropriate because Cañon City is also home to several state and federal penitentiaries. And if you’re visiting in the spring, you might catch the annual Music and Blossom Festival, celebrating the cherry and apple crops to come.

 

Pueblo

It’s said that the earliest permanent building in Colorado was erected in Pueblo by Lt. Zebulon Pike while he explored this part of the West. On his heels, Colorado’s earliest pioneers established Fort Pueblo, a trading post on the banks of the Arkansas River.

The arrival of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in 1872, combined with the availability of coal, came together to create what later was known as the Steel City, which became Pueblo’s identity.

Pueblo Attractions

But Pueblo has changed over time, steel mills giving way to the Riverwalk and family cafes joined by upscale restaurants. Today, the city is a thriving town that values culture and arts as well as livestock shows and hot-rod expos. In fact, the city’s Creative Corridor runs through three historic neighborhoods, filled with galleries, museums, fountains, live music and other arts festivities.

One of the city’s claims to fame is its Mexican food. Pueblo farmers grow their own variety of green chile, made into a savory stew to top just about anything edible. Local growers bring their produce to farmers’ markets all over the region each summer. Each fall, the Chile & Frijoles Festival celebrates the harvest and the city’s Hispanic heritage.

Downtown events often revolve around the Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center and adjacent Buell Children’s Museum, which has won national recognition for excellence.

The city’s ambitious Nature and Raptor Center provides pleasant hiking along the river and houses rescued wild birds such as owls and eagles. There’s also Lake Pueblo State Park west of town, where fishing, boating and other water sports are the order of the day, as well as great mountain biking trails. And in City Park, there’s a zoo, including children’s carnival rides and an antique carousel.

Pueblo has not forgotten its roots. Witness the revitalization of the Union Avenue Historic District and the completely rebuilt El Pueblo Museum, which honors the area’s history and cultural diversity. Those in search of more history can find it at Rosemount Museum, home of one of the city’s founding fathers, or the Steelworks Museum of Industry & Culture, which houses a collection of archives and artifacts associated with the CF&I steel mill and its mining communities.

Colorado State Fair

And if you’re fortunate enough to visit Pueblo in late August or September, you just might catch the annual Colorado State Fair, nearly two weeks of carnivals, livestock shows, rodeos and concerts, or the Chile & Frijoles Festival, a free-for-all celebration of the prized, locally grown green chiles served countless ways — and one of the reasons Pueblo’s on the rise as a top food city in Colorado. Another is a long tradition of Italian, Greek, Slovenians, Polish, Irish, German and African-American Puebloans that are shaping the city’s menus.

 

Trinidad

Few towns in Colorado have undergone such dramatic transformations in recent years as Trinidad. Just north of the New Mexico border and Raton Pass, Trinidad was a stop on the Santa Fe Trail and home to trappers, traders and early ranchers in the 1800s.

To get a feeling for the town’s history, seek out the Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District’s Baca House and Bloom Mansion, both part of the Trinidad History Museum, where you’ll see how the ordinary and extraordinary folks lived in the late 1800s.

For a look at Trinidad’s pre-history, stop by the Louden-Henritze Archeology Museum, where you’ll find artifacts from the nearby Trinchera Cave, home for thousands of years to prehistoric humans.

There’s also a Western art gallery among the growing array of downtown shops and restaurants. An ongoing downtown renovation project has lured many new businesses to the city’s heart.

Trinidad is also the starting point for the Scenic Highway of Legends, a historic drive over passes and through villages to Walsenburg to the north.

The Trinidad Lake State Park offers camping and other outdoor activities, as does the Comanche National Grassland to the east.